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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.


Dundee creatives meeting to coordinate fight against ‘arts tax’

March 15 2012

Members of Dundee's creative communities are holding a meeting tonight to discuss the potential effects of a new licensing law which they fear threatens the very existence of parts of the city's highly diverse arts scene. The law which has been branded a ''tax on creativity'' comes into force on April 1 and means exhibitions or public shows put on by the city's artists, gallery owners, musicians or publishers will have to be licensed, even if they are free. The meeting organisers say that with the cost of a licence anything from £124 to £7,500, many free, DIY, ad-hoc shows and exhibitions will simply not take place. The Scottish Government says it will be up to individual councils to decide how to implement the changes to the Public Entertainment Licence law. They will be debated at a meeting of the Dundee city licensing committee on March 29. Dundee-based North East MSP Jenny Marra has taken up the artists' case and has been in dialogue with the city council over the issue. She said she will be attending the meeting to outline her progress and take back any issues which arise on the night. Meeting organiser Emma Alexander said: ''We heard about the national campaign and thought that would make the Government change its mind it's got about 20,000 people behind it. ''But they've said individual councils have to decide, so we're meeting to discuss our strategy to take our issues forward to the city council." The meeting is at the Tin Roof premises in Ure Street, Dundee, at 8.30pm. There are more details on Facebook. Licensing committee convener Rod Wallace has stated that he is proposing a ''pragmatic approach'' to the change in the rules. He said: ''Before the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 was made law, events only needed a public entertainment licence if they charged the public to enter or take part and, even then only if the event was of a type listed by the council in a resolution. ''The new law has taken out the payment element opening up the potential for free events of the listed types to have to pay for a licence. However, for now I am proposing that if a group did not need a licence in the past they will not need one after April.''

Angus & The Mearns

Sheriff orders licensing board to perform suspension U-turn

August 27 2012

Licensing board members have been left red-faced after being told they ''erred in law'' when suspending an Angus publican's licence to sell alcohol. Karen Kennedy, who runs the Osnaburg Bar in Forfar, had her licence suspended for six months by the licensing board after she was convicted of drink-driving in February. The board ordered the suspension to ''send out a message'' to other licence holders but the decision has been overturned at appeal, after a senior lawyer showed its case was flawed. Ms Kennedy had been banned from driving for three years at Forfar Sheriff Court after driving into a parked car outside the pub on January 26 at around 2.10am. However, Forfar lawyer Brian Bell appealed the suspension on Ms Kennedy's behalf and showed the conviction did not impact on her duties as a licence holder. The sheriff judging the appeal found the board had ''exercised their discretion in an unreasonable manner''. The subject of Ms Kennedy's licence to sell alcohol came before the board after she told the council about her conviction. On the night in question, Ms Kennedy said she cleaned some equipment after the bar closed before having two or three large measures of wine from her own alcohol not from bar stock. She maintained she had not imbibed alcohol during licensing hours and the bar had a tight policy on this. Options available to the board's committee included revoking her licence, suspending it for up to six months, or endorsing it. In a letter to the board, Tayside Police's Chief Constable recommended the licence should be revoked under the Licensing (Scotland) 2005 Act. It states licence holders are under obligation to prevent crime and disorder, secure public safety, prevent a public nuisance, protect and improve public health, and protect children from harm. Councillor Alex King gave evidence at the hearing and reported Ms Kennedy had one previous analogous driving conviction and said alcohol had been consumed on the premises. Under cross-examination, he accepted the driving was after the bar closed and he had assumed Ms Kennedy was in charge of the licence. He agreed there was no suggestion Ms Kennedy drank on the premises during licence hours. Despite this, Mr King said he considered the chief constable's report relevant and Ms Kennedy's conduct had to be ''marked''. Mr Bell, with reference to the Licensing Act (Scotland) 2005 and previous case law, argued Ms Kennedy's actions had no impact in law on her duties or responsibilities as a licence holder. He stated: ''The traffic offence committed some two hours after the licensed premises had closed to the public, which was in no way connected to her status as a personal licence holder, did not merit any additional penalty being imposed.'' Within the narration there was no reference to the offence impinging upon the appellant's capabilities as the licence holder, under the 2005 Act. He added: ''It seems to me that the only way Ms Kennedy's duties as a personal licence holder are mentioned is the reference to her being seen leaving the premises in the early morning.'' Sheriff Kevin Veal concluded the offence had no relation to the licensee's role, saying: ''In this circumstance I have concluded that the respondents have erred in law. I'm of the opinion that the members exercised their discretion in an unreasonable manner after being made aware of the not insignificant penalty earlier imposed on the appellant by the criminal court.'' A council spokeswoman said: ''We are aware of the decision and it will be reported to a future meeting of Angus Licensing Board.'' The pub in question remained open throughout the appeal process. Ms Kennedy declined to comment.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Angus & The Mearns

U-turn over controversial South Esk salmon fishing extension

February 5 2013

A controversial Scottish Government decision to extend salmon netting in the South Esk area has been reversed. However Scotland’s largest salmon netting company, which has been at the centre of the issue, said it has “no issues” and “fully accepts” the U-turn. In August, ministers granted Usan Salmon Fisheries Ltd a three-year licence to net salmon at its coastal stations south of Montrose for two weeks in September. This has now been revoked. One of the firm’s directors, George Pullar, told The Courier: “We fully accept the decision of the Scottish Government to revoke the licence on the basis that the research was no longer required as part of the South Esk Project. “We understood that the nature of the licence was that it could be revoked at any time and, therefore, have no issues with the decision.” The extension was to compensate the fishery for disruption caused by Marine Scotland Science’s access “to fish and genetic samples during the commercial fishery season” for tagging research. As the netting season ends on August 31 the government’s decision came in for criticism from anglers and from some conservation bodies. The Esk District Salmon Fisheries Board sought a judicial review of the decision to grant the licence, due to be heard this month. Former board chairman Hughie Campbell Adamson was head of the body when the review was sought. He said: “The Scottish Government’s capitulation, together with its undertaking to pay the board’s costs, vindicates entirely the EDSFB’s decision to go for judicial review. “I hope that we can all now move on and never again allow politics and prejudice to jeopardise wild salmon conservation. “The latter must take priority whether it is in the context of salmon netting on the east coast or the unsustainable increase in salmon farming on the west coast. “I would especially like to thank the Salmon and Trout Association (Scotland) and the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board for their invaluable support.” The River South Esk is a Special Area of Conservation for Atlantic salmon. Conservationists argue the district’s netting operations are closely linked to salmon numbers, not only in the South and North Esks but also in the Tay. Esk Rivers and Fisheries Trust chairman Tom Sampson said: “The Government’s reversal of its decision is indeed welcome. “No increased exploitation of salmon, in the context of today’s limited marine survival levels, can be justified.”


Dundee pensioner launches TV licence legal battle

September 4 2013

A Dundee pensioner has launched a legal battle against both TV Licensing and the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) after it was revealed she pays the full £144 licence fee, while others in her sheltered housing complex are only being charged £7.50. Elizabeth Malone, 67, who lives in Tofthill Place, says despite her accommodation being part of the nearby Clement Park Sheltered Housing complex, sharing the same facilities, TV Licensing is treating them as separate addresses. The problem arose after TV Licensing ruled that as there is a street separating the two complexes, and Tofthill residents are not entitled to the same discounts. The licensing authority says Tofthill must apply on behalf of its own residents if it thinks it meets the criteria; however, as it comes under the control of Clement Park, that has resulted in a catch-22 situation, Mrs Malone’s solicitor, Gary McIlravey, says. Councillor Fraser Macpherson recently highlighted similar problems in his West End ward, but now Mrs Malone has taken the matter further and launched legal action against the company. A baffled Mrs Malone told The Courier: “We’re the same complex as Clement Park, everything is the same apart from the TV licence fee for some reason. “We have the same wardens, the same pull-chord system and we use the Clement Park lounge. “We’ve been fighting this for well over a year now. I think it’s ridiculous. There’s about six of us having to pay the full amount while the people living in Clement Park just pay £7.50. “It’s terrible and I don’t know how they justify it. The legal aid say it’s not enough money for them to get involved with, but I’m 67 and some of the residents are only 64. You have to pay the full amount till you’re 75, when its free, so if you add it all up that’s a lot of money. “There’s only a road separating us but we’re part of the same complex. I’ve spoken to Jim McGovern MP and he’s waiting to hear about it. We’re all pensioners, so what’s the difference?” Mr McIlravey, of Lawson, Coull and Duncan, sought the legal opinion of advocate Frank Burr, who agreed they had grounds for challenging the TV Licensing position. However, Mr McIlravey says he has now struck a brick wall with TV Licensing going quiet and SLAB “proving difficult”. He said: “Despite entering into correspondence initially with TV Licensing, they are now essentially ignoring all correspondence. “The Legal Aid Board, however, are being difficult in granting legal aid for a judicial review. This is despite the existence of a very favourable opinion from Frank Burr, advocate.” A spokesperson for TV Licensing said: “The criteria for the £7.50 Accommodation for Residential Care (ARC) licence are laid down in legislation. TV Licensing has no discretion over the legislation, and cannot grant ARC licences to residents of accommodation where the scheme criteria are not met. There are several criteria, one of which is that the accommodation must fall within a common and exclusive boundary. “Tofthill Place falls outside the boundary for the Clement Park Sheltered Housing Scheme. To meet the criteria for the concession, Tofthill Place must meet all qualifying criteria, separately from Clement Park. “If the administrators of the Tofthill Place sheltered housing scheme think the accommodation meets the criteria, they would need to get in touch with TV Licensing to apply on behalf of their residents.” A spokesperson for the Scottish Legal Aid Board said: “We have received an application, which is at the review stage. The solicitors asked for more time and we are waiting for further information from them.”

Perth & Kinross

Proposal for licence for second-hand dealers operating at car boot sales

February 17 2018

Second-hand dealers who operate at car boot sales will require a licence, according to a proposal put forward by council chiefs. The local authority is considering the move after discovering that there are several car boot sales taking place across Perth and Kinross where some of those taking up stands or stalls “appear” to be second-hand dealers who are operating without necessary licences. A report on the subject, drawn up by Debra Merchant, licensing manager with Perth and Kinross Council, states the findings have recently come to light, and she recommends that council chiefs approve a reduced fee for a second-hand dealers licence for those who trade at a single car boot sale once a week. The fee for this would be £60 for a one-year licence and £150 for a three-year licence. The cost of a normal second-hand dealer’s licence is £300 for three-years and £200 for one year. Ms Merchant’s report underlines that a second-hand dealer’s licence is required by any person carrying out business as a dealer in certain second-hand goods or items. These goods include records, tapes, videos, bikes, antiques, jewellery, musical instruments and equipment and tools. The licence is also required for second-hand dealers who sell cars, motorbikes, mopeds, caravans and trailers. In 1988, the former Perth and Kinross District Council adopted a resolution that second-hand dealers within the area would require to be licensed under law. This has continued to be the case since 1996, when Perth and Kinross Council became responsible for licensing. In her report, Ms Merchant said: “It has recently come to light that there are several car boot sales within the Perth and Kinross area where some of those taking up stands or stalls appear to be second-hand dealers but are operating without licences – those operating a business in second-hand dealing rather than members of the public who occasionally sell their own goods. “It is important that all second-hand dealers are licensed, as this ensures that those traders are complying with conditions of licence, which are designed to protect the public.” The licensing manager states the proposed reduced fee should be introduced in order to “encourage” unlicensed dealers who operate at car boot sales to apply for licences. She says this would be in line with those arrangements already in place for traders who have single cabinets at antique centres. Ms Merchant’s report adds: “It is hoped that offering a reduced fee will achieve a balance between protecting the public and encouraging those who are operating a second-hand dealer’s business to be licensed.” The proposal will be discussed by Perth and Kinross Council’s licensing committee on February 22.


Karaoke sessions could threaten city centre pub

October 28 2016

A popular city centre pub could face losing its entertainment license after complaints over "loud" karaoke sessions. The Town House pub, situated in King Street, has had several noise complaints made against it over the past year by an unhappy nearby resident. Dundee City Council's Licensing Board met on Thursday morning to review the bar's entertainment licence. The board deferred judgement until January, so the bar's licence holder, Ms Fairfield, could price the cost of additional noise reducing equipment. A number of noise complaints were made after a resident in a flat above the bar said music from the pub could be heard in the property. On two separate occasions police were called out, but an officer from Police Scotland told the Licensing Board on both occasions the noise from the bar "was not deemed excessive". Environmental Health Officers from the council visited the pub and the property on several occasions. Officers informed the Licensing Board they could hear music in the complainer's flat coming from the pub. The Town House's customers are over mostly over the age 60, according to the bar, and do not "cause a disturbance". The pub's owners told the Licensing Board they have fitted a limiter to the karaoke machine, in efforts to keep any noise to a low level. A representative for Ms Fairfield told the Licencing Board if the pub loses its entertainment license and is unable to provide a karaoke session for its regular customers, then it would be threatened by closure. He also explained the pub had not had any issues with noise complaints before the resident making the complaint moved in to the area in the summer of 2015. He said: "If my client loses its licence, then the pub will be forced to close. This would result in 14 people losing their jobs. "If we close bars down because of noise complaints we turn the town in to a Sleepy Hollow. "If you choose to live in a flat close to a pub in the city centre, then there is going to be noise. "The clients of the Town House are not causing a disturbance, they are pensioners, by and large. "The city centre seems to be getting quieter and quieter and residents seem to be holding the whip." The complainer was not present at the Licensing Board meeting, and was unavailable for comment.